CDC Says Vermont Had Lowest Drug Overdose Death Rate In New England

Dec 26, 2017

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control says Vermont had the lowest rate of drug overdose deaths in New England.

CDC released its report on drug overdose deaths in every state, and nationally the number of deaths from drug overdoses increased 21 percent in 2015.

The government says the rising number of drug overdoses is causing the national life expectancy to fall.

The national state average of overdose deaths is 19.8 per 100,000, which puts Vermont nearly the same as the national rate, at 22.2.

All five other New England states have rates above the national average.

New Hampshire had the third highest overdose death rate in the country last year, at about 39 per 100,000.

Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine says the CDC report highlights the work the state's been doing in confronting the crisis head-on.

"We have been the best in New England for some time," Levine  said. "There are some states that actually have come to the dance, if you will, a lot later than Vermont when it comes to addressing the opioid epidemic."

The CDC says 63,600 people died from a drug overdose in 2015, up from 52,000 in 2015, and the rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States increased three times between 1999 and 2016.

The report found that the national rate of overdose deaths from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl doubled between 2015 and 2016, and that for the first time synthetic opioids played a bigger role in the overdose deaths of Americans than any other drug.